When Uncharted 4: A Thief's End launches in 2016, the game's multiplayer mode will feature microtransactions from the start. Now, Eric Monacelli, who worked at Naughty Dog up until October as its community strategist, has defended the action game's use of micropayments.
Speaking to MCV, Monacelli -- who now works for Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward -- said controversy around microtransactions in gaming is nothing new. He pointed out that "people bristled" when Bethesda sold horse armor for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion back in 2006.
"But if it's good enough content and you want to pay for it, why not pay for it?" he said. "That's what it comes down to."
Monacelli also challenged the idea that developers cut content from a game to sell it piecemeal down the road. "No, often it's not," he said, using The Last of Us as an example.
"A clear-cut example of that is the burst rifle in The Last of Us. A lot of people thought. 'Why are they charging for guns?' We did the research and noticed that a lot of players were having trouble jumping into the game for the first time, so we wanted to give people a weapon that was easily accessible and would give them a bit of a leg-up," he said. "There were other weapons if they were a more experienced player that they could buy--it's up to them. If you're already kicking ass, you probably don't need these, but if you want 'em, have 'em. It's just a matter of personal preference."
Monacelli went on to say that there were "hot debates" inside of Naughty Dog regarding paid DLC.
"For me, the more thought that's put into DLC, the more you should be able to charge for it, because it's one of those things where you're creating another game unto itself," he said. "The Last of Us: Left Behind was another game. It's essentially the second Last of Us game, right?
"It's work, and you should pay for good work."
In addition to microtransactions, Naughty Dog will offer a single-player expansion for Uncharted 4 that presumably will be paid-for. According to Naughty Dog's Arne Meyer, the studio has "no idea" what form this DLC will take right now.
Uncharted 4 is not unique in offering microtransactions and other forms of paid add-on content. Many major games have such programs in place, including Halo 5: Guardians, Assassin's Creed Syndicate and Rise of the Tomb Raider, among many others. In fact, it's rare for a big-name game today to not have any form of paid DLC, as is the case for the new Need for Speed.
The Uncharted 4 release date is set for March 18, 2016, exclusively for PlayStation 4. The game's multiplayer beta is scheduled to begin in early December for people who bought The Nathan Drake Collection.